The Rocca Albernoz is an ancient castle located just inside the old city walls of Viterbo, near the Porta Fiorentina city gate. Today, part of the fortress houses the National Etruscan Museum.
Rocca Albernoz Viterbo
Address, Opening Hours and Admission Price
The address of the Rocca Albernoz is Piazza della Rocca 21B – Viterbo (tel +39 0761325929). Opening hours: 08.30 to 19.30. Closed: Mondays, January 1, May 1, December 25. Entrance fee: 6 Euros; discount: 3 Euros; free: 65+, 18- (European Community residents only). (NB: These are the opening hours and entrance fees for the Etruscan Museum, not for the castle itself).
History Rocca Albernoz Viterbo
The Rocca Albernoz is located to the right of the Porta Fiorentina after entering the centre of Viterbo through this city gate. The name of the square is Piazza della Rocca.
It is a large yellowish building and was originally built for military purposes.
The castle was built in 1354 by order of Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, who was also responsible for other fortifications in the area, such as the Rocca Albernoz of Spoleto, and who was ordered by the Pope (who at the time resided in Avignon) to keep the locals under control.
From the moment the castle was built, the inhabitants of Viterbo lost a large part of their autonomy, as did other towns in the area.
Some years later, Francesco di Vico had the castle destroyed, but the popes had it reconstructed after their return from Avignon.
After Cardinal Vitelleschi destroyed it again, it was rebuilt under Callixtus III, who received help from the population. The ruins of the previous fortress were used as building material.
After the work had been completed under Pope Paul III, it served for many years as the seat of the papal governor until, in 1738, it was converted into a benetrofio (a kind of orphanage, but only for children who had been abandoned or neglected by their parents).
In 1860, it was rebuilt, this time as barracks for the mercenaries of the French Zouave army chief Lamoricière, who fought alongside the papal troops.
The various noble families who lived in the Rocca over the years made several alternations, giving it a less sinister appearance.